The admissions standard for qualifying as a rehabilitation hospital would be lower under a new House bill, a companion to legislation introduced in the Senate earlier this month. Under the bill, only 50% of a hospital's admissions would have to meet one of 13 conditions for the hospital to qualify for inpatient rehab fees, which are higher than standard Medicare reimbursement. The bill would restore rehab-hospital status to facilities that ceased to qualify when the threshold rose to 60% July 1, and the higher payments would be applied retroactively. The lower threshold would apply until July 2007. A new 17-member panel would advise HHS on future policy for rehab hospitals. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), corresponds with a Senate bill sponsored by Jon Corzine (D-N.J.). Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). Both bills are backed by the hospital industry. Under current regulations, known as the "75% rule," the threshold is set to rise to 65% next July and 75% in July 2007. -- by Tony Fong
Companion bill introduced to ease rehab standard
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